Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Agricultural Water Policy FAQ

For more information about agricultural Best Management Practices (BMPs), please refer to the Agricultural BMPs FAQ document [ Adobe PDF Document 2.08 MB ].

Select a question below to expand the answer.

What programs are administered by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' Office of Agricultural Water Policy?

The Office of Agricultural Water Policy is involved in many facets of agricultural water resource protection programs. Aside from BMP development, some of these include water conservation, administration of cost-share programs statewide, grants solicitation, water management district ombudsman assistance, BMP research and demonstration, and other technical assistance including working with the state's mobile irrigation labs.

What is the purpose of BMPs?

BMPs are conservation-based practices designed to reduce agricultural nonpoint source pollutant impacts to water resources, primarily nitrogen and phosphorus discharges.

What are the steps to developing and adopting a BMP Manual?

The steps may vary somewhat, but critical steps usually include:

  • Identification of need,
  • Creation of Steering Committee,
  • Definition of agency roles,
  • Formation of technical workgroups,
  • Production of draft manual,
  • Peer review of text,
  • Public workshops,
  • Adoption of the manual in code, and
  • Printing of manuals for distribution.

Who is involved in BMP Manual development?

BMP Manual development is highly dependent on stakeholder participation. At a minimum, the Office of Agricultural Water Policy, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the state's water management districts, various grower associations, and growers themselves are vital to the process.

Does the Office of Agricultural Water Policy participate in BMP demonstrations?

Yes, the Office of Agricultural Water Policy is required under state law to work with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection in a cooperative effort to scientifically demonstrate the water quality effectiveness of adopted BMPs on representative sites. BMPs may be revised based on the outcome of these demonstration projects.

Why do you submit a Notice of Intent to Implement (NOI) to the Office of Agricultural Water Policy?

The NOI is your formal notification to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) of your commitment to implement selected practices under the FDACS-adopted BMP program applicable to your operation. Submittal of the NOI and implementation of the BMPs according to rule are required by law for you to receive a presumption of compliance with water quality standards. The Office of Agricultural Water Policy requires NOI submittal in order for you to be eligible for BMP cost-share funds.

Who should execute the NOI?

The NOI should be executed by the landowner or leaseholder since they are obligating the property to a particular management scenario (BMP).

What information is provided to FDACS through the NOI?

The NOI provides important information to FDACS concerning the owner of the property, a contact person for the property, the size of the property enrolled in the BMP program, the specific BMPs to be implemented on the property, and the schedule for implementing BMPs where appropriate.

Why does the NOI require Tax IDs/Parcel Numbers or legal descriptions?

BMPs are a statutorily based alternative to new regulatory programs to address agricultural water quality issues. It is important for FDACS to report the success of the program to the Legislature. This report includes a record of the number of acres enrolled in BMPs. Tax parcel identification numbers, as obtained from your local tax assessor's office, are the most reliable means for documenting the level of participation in BMP programs.

What funds are available to help landowners implement BMPs?

There are a number of state and federal funds, referred to as cost-share, to assist growers with the implementation of BMPs. These funds are important because some BMPs require more costly, structural retrofits.

How does the Office of Agricultural Water Policy interact with the university system?

University system expertise is routinely incorporated into the entire BMP development and implementation process. The Office of Agricultural Water Policy works primarily with the state's land grant institutions to fund research related to issues such as nitrate reduction in groundwater and nutrient and phosphorus reduction in surface waters, among others.

What role does the Office of Agricultural Water Policy play with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection?

The Office of Agricultural Water Policy works cooperatively with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and water management districts to address agricultural nonpoint source issues in a constructive manner to help the agricultural industry lessen its water resource impacts while sustaining the viability of agriculture in the state.

What kind of work does the Office of Agricultural Water Policy do with the water management districts?

Office of Agricultural Water Policy Tallahassee and field staff work with water management district personnel to coordinate and fund agricultural water quality and water conservation programs and address issues related to permitting, water supply planning, and water resource restoration.

What types of services are available from the Office of Agricultural Water Policy's field staff?

Office of Agricultural Water Policy field staff assist producers in enrolling in BMPs, securing BMP cost share, communicating with regulatory agencies, and otherwise addressing issues related to water quality or conservation.